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US Teen Accused of Trying to Go to Iraq to Fight for Islamic State Group

Map showing the location of Denver and Colorado Springs, two cities in Colorado.
Map showing the location of Denver and Colorado Springs, two cities in Colorado.

A teenager from the United States who allegedly planned to go to Iraq to fight for the Islamic State group was arrested Friday as he tried to board a flight to Turkey.

Davin Daniel Meyer, an 18-year-old from the U.S. state of Colorado, has been charged with attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Colorado announced late Monday.

Meyer's lawyer did not immediately return a telephone message or email seeking comment.

According to his arrest affidavit, law enforcement began investigating him in June 2022 when someone who knew him contacted the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. The person said they were concerned because, after following white supremacist ideology, Meyer, then 17, had turned to Islam and was frequently watching and listening to "radical Islamic sermons online." The FBI was notified by the sheriff's office, it said.

The person, who was not identified in the document, said Meyer said "he wanted to die in his early twenties for Allah."

"In October 2022, the individual informed the FBI that Meyer had stated that if he could not go to the Middle East, he planned to get fertilizer and build a bomb in the United States," the arrest affidavit said.

The document noted that Meyer had previously undergone mental health treatment and has been diagnosed with conditions including autism spectrum disorder and major depressive disorder.

Soon after he turned 18 in November, Meyer began communicating online with someone he thought was an Islamic State facilitator but was actually a paid FBI informant, the document said. The following month, that person introduced Meyer to another informant who claimed to be an Islamic State travel facilitator, who met with Meyer three times to talk about his plan to pay and prepare for traveling to join the Islamic State.

Meyer talked about problems finding a job that would allow him to follow his religious practices, such as not having to interact with women or listen to music, it said. After his mother offered to pay for an apartment for him and cover some living expenses for him, he decided to use that money to pay for his trip and buy gear that he needed to become a fighter, the document said.

Concerned that his mother would worry about him, he talked about leaving a note on the counter saying he had left by his own choice.

Meyer bought a ticket for July 14 to travel to Ankara, Turkey, where he believed he would meet with Islamic State members and travel on to Iraq to become a fighter, the arrest affidavit said.

That day, he "repeatedly expressed anxiety and hesitation" to one of the informants, but he also "repeatedly expressed determination to go through with his plans," it said.

Meyer was arrested after showing his boarding pass to the gate agent and walking down the jet bridge to the plane, the arrest affidavit said.